MRO Magazine

Ontario targets racking, storage hazards during November industrial safety blitz


November 28, 2011
By PEM Magazine

Ontario will target workplace hazards related to racking and storage during an enforcement blitz at industrial workplaces across the province.

In November, Ministry of Labour inspectors will check for hazards involving the installation, use, maintenance and repair of racking and storage systems. This includes ensuring material is safely placed and stored on racks.

They will check that:

  • Racking is selected and installed in a hazard-free manner
  • Racking is properly maintained and repaired
  • Material is safely loaded onto racks by appropriate lift trucks, and
  • Aisles are obstruction-free, lighting is adequate and pallets are in good condition.

Protecting workers is part of the government’s ongoing commitment to prevent workplace injuries through its Safe At Work Ontario strategy


“Workers can be seriously injured or killed if pallet racks are incorrectly installed or used," said Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Labour. "The [government] is committed to eliminating workplace injuries. Workers have a right to return home each day, safe and sound.”

Examples of safety issues involving racking and storage include:

  • poor storage rack design
  • incorrect installation and assembly of racking system
  • structural problems with the floors or walls of the storage area such as uneven floors and overloaded supporting structures
  • concrete floors with cracks and breaks around the racking unit anchors resulting in racking that is not level
  • poor/inadequate storage rack maintenance and repair
  • incorrect use of racking or overloading
  • lack of regular inspection and maintenance program, and
  • products sticking out the back of the racking.

Deficiencies can lead to:

  • partial or total failure/collapse of racking systems;
  • forklifts colliding with racks causing material to be displaced or causing potential damage to the racking itself;
  • material falling through the back of the racks; and
  • high floor vibration at forge shops causing loads to crawl and fall off the rack if not properly secured.

Between 2006 and 2010, three workers died and 45 others received serious injuries in racking and storage incidents. Since 2008, ministry inspectors conducted more than 266,000 field visits, 36 inspection blitzes and issued more than 426,000 compliance orders.